CAMBRIDGE - Down 2-0 going into the bottom of the third inning against Ridgewood Wednesday evening, Fort Frye softball head coach Barb Sleek knew what she had to do.
"I told them out there in the huddle, when we need a little motivation, the only way I really know how to motivate this team is to yell," Sleek said smiling. "And I yelled."
It payed off, to say the least, as the Lady Cadets scored two runs in the third, three in the fourth and two more in the sixth to pick up a 7-2 sectional semifinal victory over the Lady Generals at Cambridge City Park.
JORDAN HOLLAND The Marietta Times
Fort Frye’s Lexi Huck (background) crosses home plate, while Natalie Smith (foreground) is safe at first on a single to left during sectional softball action in Cambridge Wednesday. Fort won 7-2.
Fort Frye (22-0) will now face off against Indian Valley Friday at 5 p.m., again at Cambridge, in a sectional championship contest.
Pitching star Victoria Mimken was not quite as dominating as she has been throughout the season, surrendering a run apiece in the second and third innings, but settled down and gave her a team a complete game, 10-strikeout performance. She scattered six hits and did not walk a batter to remain unbeaten on the year.
Mimken was also one of four Cadet batters to collect multiple base hits, along with Courtney Hendershot, Lexi Huck and Morgan Liedtke.
FORT FRYE 7, RIDGEWOOD 2
Division III Sectional Semifinal
Ridgewood (8-17) 011 000 0 - 2 6 1
Fort Frye (22-0) 002 302 x - 7 12 1
WP: Tori Mimken (22-0) 7IP, 10SO, 6H, 2ER
LP: Erica Michael 5IP, 7SO, Taylor Zinkon 1IP, 2BB
Ridgewood: Amy Foreman 1-3, Zinkon 1-3, 1RBI, Erica Olinger 1-3, 1R, 2B, Jordan Cognion 1-3, 1RBI, 2B, Emily McCoy 2-3
Fort Frye: Courtney Hendershot 2-3, 1R, 1RBI, 2B, Courtney Allen 1-3, 1R, 1RBI, 1BB, Lexi Huck 2-4, 1HR, 2R, 2RBI, Hali Lemasters 1-3, 1RBI, Natalie Smith 1-4, 1RBI, Mimken 2-4, 2B, Megan Liedtke 1-3, 1R, 2B, Morgan Liedtke 2-3, 2R
Next game: Fort Frye vs. Indian Valley at 5 p.m. Friday (Sectional final)
It was Huck's two-run blast in the bottom of the fourth, with Courtney Allen on second, that made it a 5-2 game and gave Mimken a little breathing room in the pitcher's circle.
From there, the Generals would get only two base runners in the final three innings as Mimken was able to slam the door.
"Once (Mimken) got into the mind-set of 'We're back to Fort Frye softball,' that's when she finds her groove," Sleek said.
Ridgewood's Erica Olinger hit a one-out double in the second inning and then traded places with Jordan Cognion in a double two batters later to give the Generals a 1-0 lead.
It became a 2-0 game in the third when Taylor Zinkon's bloop single over second base plated a run.
After that, it was Fort Frye's turn.
Hendershot led off the third with an infield single and advanced to second on an illegal pitch. Two batters later, Huck grounded to the shortstop, but a throwing error allowed Hendershot to go to third and Huck to go to second. Hali Lemasters then got Fort Frye on the board with an RBI-groundout to third that plated Hendershot. Natalie Smith tied it up with single to left that drove in Huck.
An inning later, Liedtke started a rally with a one-out single to left. She was bunted over to second by Hendershot before a single up the middle by Allen brought her in for what was ultimately the winning run.
For good measure, Huck followed with her long ball that cleared the left field fence to make it a 5-2 game.
The Cadets got some insurance in the sixth.
With Megan and Morgan Liedtke on the corners, Megan came in to score on a wild pitch before a double by Hendershot scored Morgan and made it a 7-2 game.
"Once we got it to 2-2, I thought 'Hey, we'll be alright,'" Sleek said. "I didn't think it would end up 7-2. I thought we'd win by two, make it 4-2 or something. It was a pretty good job to regroup and rebound there."
Erica Michael started for Ridgewood and lasted five innings, striking out seven. Zinkon pitched an inning of relief, walking a pair of batters.
The Generals ended their 2013 campaign with an 8-17 record.
Fort Frye will be looking for another district appearance Friday against the Braves.